Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Molly Molloy's Opens
Will seek Market's okay on beer for center court

Plenty of taps await beer lovers at Molly Molloy's
The Iovine's opened gastropub Molly Molloy's at the Reading Terminal Market this morning. Named after brothers Jim and Vinnie Iovine's mother, the pub replaces the considerably more downscale Beer Garden.

The only detail to be resolved is whether customers can take beer into center court to enjoy with items bought from other market vendors. Jim Iovine told me their license allows them to sell beer for consumption in market seating areas, but they have yet to present their request to market management, which must also approve any such plan.

Paul Steinke, the RTM's general manager, told me today that when the Iovines get around to making a formal request "it's a policy matter we have to deal with." Beyond operational issues, liability will be a key question, i.e., who's the responsible party for an alcohol-related incident outside of Molly Molloy's but within the market? Until that's resolved, you'll have to enjoy the craft beers offered by Molly Molloy's within the confines of the gastropub.

Although beer sales are strictly on-premises for now, there is a take-out counter for food. I tried it for a late breakfast this morning and found chef Bobby Fisher's French toast with berry sauce quite good, accompanied by a sagey scrapple. While I was enjoying that at a center court table, Tom Nicolosi of DiNic's had an early lunch of something else with French in its name: onion soup; he noted with approval that it was made from homemade stock, not an institutional salt-based broth.

No menu has been posted at the restaurant's website yet, but Menupages has one, even if they misspell its name.  Hot sandwiches include braised oxtail, pork belly, rib  eye, pulled chicken, and burgers. Irish beef stew, fish and chips, short ribs and chicken pot pies are among the entrees. And since the bar's focus is beer, there are wings.

There isn't a lot of overlap on the menu with what's offered by other RTM lunch vendors, but of all the others the one most likely to be concerned would be the Down Home Diner, which also offers a large seating area independent of center court and similar foodie aspirations. My guess is that Molly Molloy's won't so much take away business from the Down Home Diner as grow its own volume. And if it gets permission to sell beer in plastic cups for travel to center court, it can only help other sandwich vendors (though their profitable soft drink sales may suffer).

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